31 Showtime original TV shows ranked from worst to best — from ‘Homeland’ to ‘Billions’ to ‘Twin Peaks’

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Showtime

With “Billions” back on Showtime and “Homeland” currently airing as well, it’s a good time to take stock of all the great TV the premium network has brought us over the years.

Business Insider went back in time to rank all the network’s notable original scripted programs from the last 10 years based on how well they did with critics.

Showtime launched in 1976 and is now owned by CBS. Its original programming took off in the 1990s with shows like “Twin Peaks” and “Stargate SG-1.” But it really grew into a powerhouse in the late 2000s with shows like “Weeds” and “Dexter.” Most recently, “Homeland,” “Shameless,” “The Affair,” and a “Twin Peaks” revival have been prominent on the network.

But which did critics love the most?

To answer that question, we used review aggregator site Metacritic to determine the ranking, excluding variety and sports programs (and shows that didn’t get enough reviews to qualify). We calculated the average score for each show based on the scores of the various seasons.

If any season of the show aired in 2008 and beyond, we counted it. “Twin Peaks” was an unusual case, as the series originally aired in the 1990s but returned for a special third season last year called “Twin Peaks: The Return.” With that in mind, we counted the series on the list, and calculated the average score of all three seasons.

Below are the 31 notable Showtime original shows to air in the last decade, ranked from worst to best:


31. “Our Cartoon President”

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Showtime

Critics score: 42

Number of seasons: 1

Years aired: 2018

Summary: Based on a character introduced on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” this comedy follows an animated President Trump and his staff through their chaotic White House, but it has failed to land with critics.


30. “Roadies”

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Showtime

Critics score: 47

Number of seasons: 1

Years aired: 2016

Summary:Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino starred as members of a rock band’s production crew, and the show followed their lives on the road.


29. “Happyish”

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Showtime

Critics score: 49

Number of seasons: 1

Years aired: 2015

Summary:A man’s life is turned upside down when he’s fired from his job, and his anti-depressants fail to make him happy.


28. “White Famous”

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Showtime

Critics score: 54

Number of seasons: 1

Years aired: 2017

Summary: “SNL” alum Jay Pharoah’s comedy where he essentially plays himself (a young, up-and-coming stand-up comedian) was short-lived, and canceled last year after one season.


27. “Dice”

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Showtime

Critics score: 56

Number of seasons: 2

Years aired: 2016-2017

Summary:This semi-autobiographical show about Andrew “Dice” Clay’s attempted resurgence in the comedy scene lasted just two seasons.


26. “Secret Diary of a Call Girl”

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Showtime

Critics score: 56.5

Number of seasons: 4

Years aired: 2007-2011

Summary: The show brought to life a diary of a sex worker.


25. “I’m Dying Up Here”

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Showtime

Critics score: 62

Number of seasons: 1 (season 2 coming in May)

Years aired: 2017-present

Summary:It’s the 1970s in Los Angeles, and the stand-up comedy scene is thriving … or is it?


24. (TIE) “The L Word”

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Showtime

Critics score: 63

Number of seasons: 6

Years aired: 2004-2009

Summary:A group of lesbian best friends maneuver through their busy L.A. lives.


24. (TIE) “House of Lies”

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Showtime

Critics score: 63

Number of seasons: 5

Years aired: 2012-2016

Summary:Don Cheadle stars as a brutal consulting manager at a prestige firm.


22. “SMILF”

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Showtime

Critics score: 64

Number of seasons: 1 (season 2 coming this year)

Years aired: 2017-present

Summary: A comedy following the life and trials of a single mother.


21. “Californication”

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Showtime

Critics score: 66

Number of seasons: 7

Years aired: 2007-2014

Summary:A troubled writer can’t keep himself away from beautiful women he encounters, which puts him at odds with his daughter and ex-girlfriend.


20. “The Tudors”

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Showtime

Critics score: 67.25

Number of seasons: 4

Years aired: 2007-2010

Summary: A drama focusing on the life of King Henry VIII. Before she was in “Game of Thrones,” Natalie Dormer played his second wife, Anne Boleyn.


19. “The Big C”

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Showtime

Critics score: 67.5

Number of seasons: 4

Years aired: 2010-2013

Summary:When a mother is diagnosed with cancer, she tries to keep her suburban life in order.


18. “Billions”

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Showtime

Critics score: 68

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 2016-present

Summary: A U.S. attorney played by Paul Giamatti goes up against a billionaire hedge fund manager, played by Damian Lewis.


17. “Weeds”

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Showtime

Critics score: 68.13

Number of seasons: 8

Years aired: 2005-2012

Summary:A suburban mom deals marijuana to make a living after her husband dies.


16. “Web Therapy”

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Showtime

Critics score: 70.5

Number of seasons: 4

Years aired: 2011-2015

Summary: A woman enters the world of online therapy after quitting her job, and offers clients 3-minute sessions over the internet.


15. “Shameless”

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Showtime

Critics score: 71

Number of seasons: 8 (renewed for season 9)

Years aired: 2011-present

Summary: A father juggles his alcoholism and his six children.


14. (TIE) “The Borgias”

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Showtime

Critics score: 73

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 2011-2013

Summary: Pope Alexander VI uses violence and manipulation to take control of 15th century Italy.


14. (TIE) “Ray Donovan”

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Showtime

Critics score: 73

Number of seasons: 5 (renewed for season 6)

Years aired: 2013-present

Summary: Liev Schreiber is Ray Donovan, a professional “fixer” for anyone but himself.


14. (TIE) “The Chi”

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Showtime

Critics score: 73

Number of seasons: 1 (currently airing)

Years aired: 2018

Summary:Four people’s lives are connected in Chicago after a tragic event.


11. “Nurse Jackie”

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Showtime

Critics score: 73.83

Number of seasons: 7

Years aired: 2009-2015

Summary:Edie Falco played a drug-addicted nurse – what could go wrong?


10. “Episodes”

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Showtime

Critics score: 74.33

Number of seasons: 5

Years aired: 2011-2015

Summary: Matt LeBlanc, of “Friends” fame, plays himself as an actor cast in an American remake of a popular British television series.


9. (TIE) “Brotherhood”

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Showtime

Critics score: 75

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 2006-2008

Summary:Two brothers are pitted against one another in an Irish neighborhood, as one is a politician and the other a gangster.


9. (TIE) “Guerrilla”

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Showtime

Critics score: 75

Number of seasons: 1 (Mini-series)

Years aired: 2017

Summary:This mini-series last year followed activists in 1970s London who attempt to start a revolution.


7. “Dexter”

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Showtime

Critics score: 75.88

Number of seasons: 8

Years aired: 2006-2013

Summary: A crime-scene analyst in Miami is also a serial-killer … of other serial-killers.


6. (TIE) “United States of Tara”

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Showtime

Critics score: 76.7

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 2009-2011

Summary:A housewife with an identity disorder struggles to keep her family – and personalities – in check.


6. (TIE) “Penny Dreadful”

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Patrick Redmond/SHOWTIME

Critics score: 76.7

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 2014-2016

Summary: Classic literary characters like Victor Frankenstein team up against the supernatural.


4. “Homeland”

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Showtime

Critics score: 78.2

Number of seasons: 7 (currently airing)

Years aired: 2011-present

Summary:The show’s first few seasons dealt with a CIA operative and the American soldier she believes has been turned by Al-Qaeda. The show moved on from that storyline after season 3 and is now on season 7.


3. “The Affair”

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Showtime

Critics score: 78.3

Number of seasons: 3 (season 4 premieres this year)

Years aired: 2014-present

Summary:A writer and a waitress become involved with one another, starting an affair with dramatic consequences.


2. “Masters of Sex”

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Showtime/Warren Feldman

Critics score: 79.3

Number of seasons: 4

Years aired: 2013-2016

Summary:Two researchers kick off the sexual revolution in the 1950s and 60s.


1. “Twin Peaks”

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Showtime

Critics score: 85

Number of seasons: 3

Years aired: 1990-1991, 2017

Summary: An FBI agent investigates the murder of a teenage girl in the small, strange town of Twin Peaks, but nothing is as it appears. The show returned with a third season called “Twin Peaks: The Return” last year.